3 Reasons I Am Cautious To Tell People I’m From Israel

When you’re from the U.S.A., Switzerland, Brazil, Denmark, or Australia, you have no reason to fear telling people your nationality. These are just a few countries where the answer to “Where are you from?” is a non-issue. And why shouldn’t it be? God has blessed each nation on the Earth in one way or another, most with generous prosperity, overall moral value, and many with the foundation of Scripture sprinkled throughout their law and society.

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The country I am from is no exception. In fact, God has blessed my nation so abundantly, so eternally, and so profoundly, that it stars as a beacon of His faithfulness in the best selling book of all time! The Holy Bible! 

So, you would think that I’d run far and wide proudly proclaiming that my origins lie in Israel!! But, in reality, I don’t. There are 3 reasons I am cautious to tell people I’m from from Israel that show up at the forefront of my mind whenever the possibility presents itself.

Media Lies Are Alive and Well

Here’s a newsflash for you: the media often lies! And when it comes to Israel, the medium of news worldwide is so biased, that if one didn’t have the Bible as a reference point, you would believe that Israel is the most peace-hating, greedy, even murderous, nation on the earth.

Try some of these lies for size:

Or if you have a few minutes, these articles will be helpful:

Top 5 Most Egregious Anti-Israel Headlines In the International Media

‘Fake News’ is One Thing, Counter-Factual News Quite Another

Top Ten Anti-Israel Lies

Fake News and Israel

Need I say more? The negative image of Israel is rampant in the media, and countless people sadly believe it :-(.

I cannot forget personally hearing an interview of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, a couple of years ago. The drop dead gorgeous CNN interviewer literally introduced him this way, “We will now hear from Binyamin Netanyahu, the man against peace in the Middle East…” If I hadn’t heard it with my own ears, I would not have believed this was actually said on an internationally acclaimed media news channel.

The media has the capability and power to shape people’s opinion.

I am not into politics. I honestly am not. My life is so full and busy that I have never had much of an interest in following the ongoing, ever-changing world of politics. Whether that is good, or bad, I don’t know. But I have observed one thing – most people have a very strong opinion about Israel.

Nearly half of Americans support sanctions on Israel

Poll shows growing support among Americans for sanctions against Israel

One way or the other, favouring or opposing, sympathetic or callous, loving or hateful, from my observations reactions are one or the other – to the extreme.

So, I’m cautious in telling folks I’m from Israel, mainly because I simply don’t know, based on all they know, or think they know, about my Land, which way they’re going to go. The reaction is unpredictable. And quite frankly, at times I’m afraid to find out which it is.

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Anti-Semitism alive and well

Living in New Zealand, I often get asked a question:

“What is the difference between being Jewish and being Israeli?” Click To Tweet

While I found this curiosity amusing at first (since the answer is so obvious to me :-)), I have come to appreciate people wanting to understand the terminology. Those who are ask, do so sincerely, and I consider myself somewhat of an ambassador when I respond.

Israel is the homeland of the Jews. Since it’s establishment in 1948, it has been a sanctuary to every person on the Earth who has Jewish descent. After millennia of wandering, and not truly belonging anywhere, God saw fit to fulfill Biblical prophecy and reestablish a place where His people can freely dwell.

To be Jewish is to be from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; in other words, a descendant of any of the 12 Tribes of Israel. According to Jewish law, a person is only considered Jewish if their mother is Jewish, however, Biblically, the father was the one who passed on the Jewish lineage.

Anyone who is Jewish may live in Israel, as I mentioned before, which would make those Jews, Israelis (just like like living in Hungary makes one Hungarian. etc.) However, not every Jew is an Israeli. If a Jew lives in the U.S.A., for example, He is Jewish, but is an American Jew.

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I thought you may be interested in taking a look at where the millions of Jews on the Earth today are located:

14.7–17.4 million
Regions with significant populations
 Israel 6,481,182
 United States 5,300,000–6,800,000
 France 467,500
 Canada 386,000
 United Kingdom 290,000
 Russia 183,000
 Argentina 181,000
 Germany 117,500
 Australia 112,800
 Brazil 94,500
 South Africa 69,800
 Ukraine 60,000
 Hungary 47,700
 Mexico 40,000
 Netherlands 29,900
 Belgium 29,800
 Italy 27,600
  Switzerland 18,900
 Chile 18,400
 Iran 9,900
Rest of the world 218,100

Now, back to my point. Throughout history there have always been Anti-Semites. These are people who discriminate against or are prejudiced or hostile toward Jews.

Sometimes called “the longest hatred,” Anti-semitism has persisted in many forms for over two thousand years.

Anti-semitic attitudes are responsible for historical tragedies such as the Crusades, the Pogroms, and the Holocaust.

If you’re interested, Wikipedia has an excellent Timeline of Anti-Semitism from antiquity to the 21st century.

But did you know that Anti-Semitism is alive and well today!

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This will give you a good idea of Anti-Semitism in the world today:


Some other articles you may like to read on the subject:

This Week in Inflammatory Billboards

“Anti-Semitic” Political Cartoons

Fear is Alive and Well

I must be completely honest and say that where Israel is concerned there is often fear.

What I mean is that due to the ignorance that often surrounds the enigmatic, ever-changing idea of where Israel is at and where people need to stand as far as she is concerned, folks often face a decision head-on when they meet someone from Israel. None of this is spoken of course, but I do sometimes see it in people’s eyes.

They hear I’m from Israel, and it requires them to know their take on things and have an opinion about it, which often they have not yet thought through. There is also the hidden fear of knowing what to say since they may not feel up to date with all that’s happening in the region, and don’t want to show their ignorance.

Personally, I can tell you that even I myself don’t keep up with all that goes on there! It can literally change from hour to hour, and sometimes someone will mention something to me about a current situation that I have not yet even heard of!

So there is definitely some kind of fear I see coming from people hearing I’m from Israel for those reasons.

And then there is my fear. I hate to say it, but sometimes I just don’t know what people are going to do with the information. If I don’t know whether someone is Muslim or not, and they actually are, are they going to contact someone to report us? Will they follow us to see where we live?

I know this sounds paranoid, and believe me, I know that not all Muslims are Israel haters, but if someone isn’t a Bible believer, and may potentially be Muslim, seeing themselves as an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people, then it’s unpredictable to me how that person will respond. I just can’t be sure that they will not take further measures with what they know.

I would never give someone I suspect may be Muslim our address or contact information. It’s so sad that it has to be like this, but we are a people with enemies (we don’t view them as our enemies, but they sadly view us as theirs). You see, my friend, as tragic as it sounds, all Jews, and Israelis in particular, are always high up on the potential target list for terrorist attacks.

So, while God is sovereign and protects His people, we still need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).

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In closing, I will always be thankful and feel privileged to belong to the Jewish people and to be an Israeli. I realize, though, that my nationality is not a straightforward matter. There are issues beneath the surface that lurk unspoken, or alternatively issues surrounding my nation and people often can be the source of the very outspoken.

This is part of the calling, and I accept it.

God has His watchful eye on Israel, and on her people. Click To Tweet

And those in my position can be comforted that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

But also, let us remember that Israel still has a plan and purpose in God’s Kingdom and in the future of this Earth.

Despite her rebellion towards God and her people’s sin, speaking of Israel the Lord promises:

For a brief moment I deserted you,

    but with great compassion I will gather you.

 In overflowing anger for a moment

    I hid my face from you,

but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”

    says the Lord, your Redeemer.

Isaiah 54:7-8

You, as a Gentile, have a part to play, for God has declared:

I will bless those who bless you [Israel], and him who dishonors you [Israel] I will curse, and in you [Israel] all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 12:3

[Parentheses mine]

Bibliography:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews

Did anything in this post shed some new light for you? What will your response be next time you met a Jew or Israeli?

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Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.
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About womenabiding

Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.
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38 Responses to 3 Reasons I Am Cautious To Tell People I’m From Israel

  1. Susan Shipe says:

    I love Yeshua with all my heart. He is Jewish. From Israel. He adopted me! xo Neighbors at Women with Intention!

  2. Thank you for this eye opening input, Tehila.

  3. Ugochi says:

    I understand how you must feel Tehila. But for me, I always consider it a blessing to meet any natural descent of Abraham. I have read so much about Jews in the Bible and while I know that I share in their heritage through Christ, I know that the natural branches have a special place in God’s plan like Romans 11 says. I often keep Israel in my heart and prayers and I know I am blessed because of that.
    It is a pleasure ‘knowing’ you Tehila. Shallom!!!
    Have a super blessed day!
    Love

  4. Joanne Viola says:

    It so saddens me when I hear of Anti-Semitism. May we remember Israel in our prayers because these are God’s chosen people. Blessed to “know” you here in the blogging world, Tehila!

  5. Brenda says:

    Wow, Tehila — very interesting. I’d never considered the fear involved before. ((Hug)) Such a sad world we live in — so much of satan’s influence. But, God and His people will be the ones standing in the end. My husband is jewish; his mother converted when she married his dad. He’s now a Messianic Jew, but wasn’t raised that way. — Thank you for sharing these words with #ChasingCommunity today. ((hug))

    • womenabiding says:

      So interesting about your hubby being a Messianic Jew! (like me :-))… Yes, as I was writing the post I was very aware of how sad it is that things are the way they are in the world, but it’s all in God’s sovereign plan, and as you said, in the end, His ways will prevail! Much much love to you, Brenda xoxo

  6. Pam says:

    Israel is God’s Chosen People.” (I know grammar is incorrect.) I pray that the United States would always support Israel. It was embarrassing the way Prime Minister N. was treated by our former president. My husband will be teaching about the Holocaust soon and we talk about the importance of that. We should never forget it.

    • womenabiding says:

      I loooooved your comment, Pam. Sounds as though you and your husband have given a lot of thought and study to the place of Israel in God’s Word. You’re a light that shines brightly! xoxo

  7. Jann Olson says:

    This is so interesting. I agree that the media has a way of influencing people big time! I am not big into politics either, but I can see why you would be a bit hesitant. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  8. Tehila, thanks so much for this informative post. These things are terrible, many of which I was aware of but not the full extent that you describe. I know you trust the Lord, but this must still be a pressure to live with, not knowing when antisemitic hate will show its ugly head.

    I appreciate your faithful witness, many blessings,
    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

  9. Brigett says:

    Tehila,
    I loved this article as I’m sure so many share your feelings. It is such a shame that you, the chosen nation, the descendants of Abraham, the one nation that God chose to send His only Son through feel so much resentment from the world, but that is even more proof of God’s blessings on you. I am honored to know you! And I am so thankful that even though I’m not Jewish, God allowed me to be grafted into His kingdom through Jesus. To those, like you, who are Messianic Jews I have the utmost respect for. The Jewish nation has always been dear to my heart. I pray for you that God would continue to use you as a light to this world and bless you greatly.

    • womenabiding says:

      How wonderful to hear your love and care for the Jewish people, Brigett. You are a beacon in a dark world and I’m so encouraged by your tender heart for the Lord and His Word!!! xoxoxo

  10. Jennifer says:

    So glad God comforts His people with these words. Blessings you . You are ever dependent on His words and holy protection.

  11. Pamela says:

    I have always respected the fact that the Jewish people and Israel are blessed and the Chosen. I have read the bible and tried to find a definitive answer to why the Jewish people are so hated. I think I understand what i am reading but am not one hundred percent sure. It always saddens me to hear of people turning there backs on Israel and her people. I was embarrassed by the way Israel was treated by Obama. Please believe me when I say not all Americans agreed with him.

    • womenabiding says:

      I do believe you, Pam. And thank you for your profound seeking after the ways of God for the Jewish people. May God greatly bless you, sweet sister xoxo

  12. Tani Newton says:

    Dear Tehila, I do admire you for writing such a brave post. Surely there would be a teeny bit more peace in the world if we could all speak so calmly and kindly of how we feel about the world situation. I was going to say ‘political situation’ or something, but it’s not really political, because it affects people’s lives so profoundly and intimately.

  13. Lisa notes says:

    Thank you for sharing this info! We do need to be made aware of how it feels to be from Israel in this day and time. I personally don’t know anyone from Israel so it’s good to get information first-hand from you. We all need reminders to not believe everything we hear in the media; with so much information out there, so much isn’t accurate.

    • womenabiding says:

      Thanks, Lisa… I must confess that I am the first Jewish person, and Israeli, that many people meet 🙂 I consider it a privilege… Blessings to you, lovely lady! xoxo

  14. Dawn Boyer says:

    Tehila,

    History,especially Biblical History, fascinates me deeply. I enjoyed reading this post so much.Thank you for sharing this, so informative, with us at the #GraceMoments Link up. Praying He covers you with His feathers, under the shadow if His Wings. May your testimony be a strengthening to all of us.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  15. Tubbs says:

    I’m so sorry that you’ve been made to feel this way. I know from my other Jewish friends it’s not an uncommon experience and we’ve talked about it quite a bit. (I really want to understand so I don’t unintentionally upset them with an uninformed comment)

    I walk past our local synagogue on the way to work and it’s so sad that it has state of the art security and cameras to prevent the kind of attacks and issues you’ve highlighted. It would be great if we could just co-exist peacefully.

    Thank you for a great post 🙂

    • womenabiding says:

      Nicola, I’m really grateful for your perspective and your sensitivity to noticing the synagogue you pass, as well as your discussions with your Jewish friends. Even though I know I’m not the only one to feel this way, it’s good to hear a first hand account of others who share my experience. Loved having you stop by, girlfriend!!! xoxo

  16. Ruth says:

    I’ve been receiving and reading a publication from a Messianic Jewish group for over 10 years, and it has been very informative. It has opened my eyes to some of the lies in the liberal media concerning Israel. The father of lies definitely has staked a claim in many places across the world.
    I praise the LORD that He will have His way in the end, for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are HIS!
    I understand your need for caution; the Lord tells us in Ephesians 5:14 to walk circumspectly (synonyms: careful, vigilant, guarded). I realize that this has a much broader meaning, but I think it can be applied to situations like this as well.
    May the Lord give you much joy in the special person He has made you to be, and especially in the special privilege He has given you to know Him personally through His Son, Jesus (Yeshua), the Messiah. I’m looking forward to the day when He comes back and establishes righteousness!

  17. Jennie Pinder says:

    I count it a great priviledge to have been grafted in and to have had the opportunity to visit your wonderful land.
    Shalom

  18. Stephanie says:

    I can only imagine what you have heard and dealt with through the years. I love Israel and have always been so fascinated and interested with anything Jewish. Israel is the one place I would love to visit one day (I don’t fly) Also to mention all the medical technology that has come to us from Israel. My inhaler for asthma is made in Israel. 🙂 You spoke of the holocaust and I was blessed to be raised by a mother that loves God and follows the Bible. We were stationed in Germany and she made sure we visited Dachau concentration camp. And to this day I can remember the smell when we got there. I laid on the wood board that served as a bed for prisoners. It was a very humbling experience. It’s a heartbreaking memory for me but it has always kept me praying for Israel and the safety of her people. And is one of the reasons I donate to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews organization. They do so much good. The enemy of all will continue to stir the pot of hatred for God’s chosen children. May God always shine His Light on Israel, her people and the Prime Minister.
    Blessings,
    Stephanie

  19. Brandi Raae says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart at Literacy Musing Mondays! Very informative and interesting – I loved learning the difference between Jewish and Israeli.

  20. So much honest information there – thanks for sharing about your roots. And I have to say, I visited New Zealand in 2009 when my sister and her husband lived there and I loved traveling around that beautiful country. Thanks for linking up at #PorchStories.

  21. Birdie says:

    Thank you Tehila.
    I read this to my dear family. We’ve been researching, reading, watching many things regarding God, His plan, your history and people, societies action against Jews. How can you ever lose that feeling of being hated? Thanks and praise be to Him, who fills our spirit with His eternal peace; where no one can touch!
    Here, more tax funding has been allocated for protection of gathering places of Jewish people. Unreal; for a democratic country!
    His blessings for you. Keep in His strength and His courage, 8-).

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